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As the year draws to an end, and the holiday season comes to a close, many are contemplating the events of 2017 and what changes to make in their life. Determinants for health changes can be complex and multi-factorial. What has been shown is that resolutions based solely on guilt from the years’ “regressions” are not long-lasting.

A 2010 research synthesis through the Health Maintenance Consortium (HMC) sought to understand “effective strategies for achieving sustainable health promotion and disease prevention.”  The interacting factors the researchers found were the following:

  • context (personal characteristics, political context, culture, and societal/environmental)
  • current behavior (health behavior, risk behaviors, stress management, screening practices, and coping strategies)
  • settings (clinical, community, worksite, and healthcare)
  • mechanisms of change (knowledge, self-efficacy, behavioral skill building, and social reinforcement)

The researchers reviewed several areas that have been studied for creating lasting healthful changes. They found several limitations in the trials’ designs and the interventions themselves.  It seems that methods that come from outside directives and based on fear or external rewards are a common downfall to achieving sustaining results.

One article on healthy behavior change had a more inclusive approach. The author presented a “behavior change pathway.” This pathway incorporated the individual’s goals and motivations, along with building their skills and problem solving how to overcome obstacles that would deter their success. The health practitioner’s role was to offer support throughout the transformational steps.

The author stated, “These stages include engaging with patients to help build rapport, focusing patients on the changes they want to make while offering advice and support, evoking the tools and desires they possess within them to effect change, and planning to implement the goals and next steps patients identified through the encounter.1 Supporting my patients’ awareness about their current behavior patterns, helping them become aware of the skills they already have, and respecting any initial resistance will be crucial to conducting a positive conversation.”

As scientists continue to research how to “make people change” and individuals continue to seek approaches that “motivate” them from external sources, it may be wise to step back and really evaluate the reasons why one wishes to break or make new behavioral patterns.  A goal for eating foods that nourish the body to live a more vital life will provide more internal motivation than getting down to an unhealthy weight in order to be accepted by a disordered societal ideal. There’s also a difference between exercising to decrease weight for vanity sake vs. moving the body in enjoyable ways in order to keep up with the grandkids and live long enough to witness the birth of their children.

I propose being gentle with yourself this new year. Accept that there is a process of change to reach your goals. Celebrating this fact, with all its twists and turns, verses beating yourself up for minor detours, could be the key to keeping on the road of your intentions to achieve a better future.

Essential oils can be used as a tool along this path of shifting habits that no longer serve your best interests. I already highlighted the science of how essential oils can help to change emotions that may be blocking one from moving forward. I also wrote a series on how essential oils can help support someone in changing unwanted behaviors by balancing their biochemistry, psychology, and physiology.

What are your favorite oils and blends to move you forward this new year?

Share your health goals below!


Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)

Thanks Pixabay.